Ex-Premier of B.C., Bill Vander Zalm was born into a family of Dutch bulb merchants in 1934. His father was in the Fraser Valley for most of WW II while the family remained in the Catholic village of Noordwykerhout, which was occupied by the Nazis. After the war Vander Zalm joined his father in Bradner and took over his father's sales calls around B.C. at age 17. He bought Art Knapp's Nurseries Ltd. for $3,200 when there was no store. He was never the sole owner of the chain of Art Knapp stores that developed, as the media erroneously reported for years. Vander Zalm's month-by-month guide, Northwest Gardener's Almanac, has had numerous printings.

Alan Twigg published the first critical book on Vander Zalm, a biography called Vander Zalm: From Immigrant to Premier (Harbour Publishing, 1986). The 28th Premier of British Columbia self-published his own 615-page autobiography Bill Vander Zalm "For The People" (2008 $39.95 plus tax and shipping) available via his internet site. It was followed by a 180-page softcover on his remarkable and ultimately successful fight to rid B.C. of an unpopular tax, HST & the People for Democracy (Red Tuque Distribution 2013 $20 978-0-9921415-0-9), ";dedicated to over 705,000 British Columbians that signed the HST Initiative Petition."; Both were available from his website but were handled via Red Tuque Books as of November, 2013).

[Cover image from Fantasyland by Gary Mason and Keith Baldrey]

[BCBW 2013] "Gardening" "Politics"